By Ian Graig
The George Mason varsity field hockey team continued the strong start to its second season, splitting two games over the past week against strong opponents.
Last Wednesday, the Mustangs won their fifth game in a row in a thrilling contest against Patriot High School in Nokesville. Mason jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first half over the Group 6A Patriots, who beat Mason twice last year and boasted a 5-1 record this season before facing the Mustangs. Mason’s first-half goals were scored by sophomore Lydia Gorman, junior Caroline Stricker and sophomore Sarah Lubnow.
Patriot mounted a fierce comeback in the second half, tying the game at 3-3 with about 10 minutes remaining. At that point, Mason Coach Amanda Crider said, Mason “decided that this was their game.”
Mason put intense pressure on the Pioneers and senior Angelika Johns scored with five minutes left to put Mason ahead for good. The game was very fast paced and filled with hard drives by both teams.
Mason goalies Caroline Duffett and Rachel Skomra had nearly a dozen saves between them and they were aided on defense by solid play from senior Emma Graig, who saved a shot headed for the goal on a Pioneer corner, and from Caroline Stricker and junior Cylia Geiser.
On Monday, Mason had their five-game win streak snapped in a 3-2 loss to Kensington, Maryland’s Brookewood School.
Mason had the ball in the offensive zone early in the game, with Sarah Lubnow and other Mason forwards challenging the Brookewood goalkeeper, but a series of corner shots allowed Brookewood to shift the momentum and put serious pressure on the Mustangs’ goal.
Despite several good saves by Mason goalkeeper Caroline Duffett, Brookewood was able to take a 1-0 lead late in the first half.
Brookewood pushed the score to 2-0 early in the second half, though a nifty backhanded save by Caroline Duffett prevented another Brookewood goal.
With about 10 minutes remaining in the game, Mason regained control and mounted a series of strong attacks on Brookewood, with sophomore Korinne Wills, junior Callie Gaskins, and senior Eleanor Langford pushing the attack. The pressure from Mason soon paid off, with Caroline Stricker firing a hard shot into the Brookewood goal to cut the lead to 2-1.
A few minutes later, Caroline Stricker again attacked the Brookewood goal, this time delivering a pass in front that junior Julianne Kelly drove home to tie the score.
But Brookewood was awarded another corner with just a few minutes remaining, which they scored on after a scramble in front of the goal.
The loss brings the Mustangs’ record to 5-2. Mason has two more games this week, at home against Kettle Run on Thursday and away against Wakefield on Friday.
In junior varsity action, the Mason JV team lost a close 1-0 contest to Patriot High School. Sophomore Hannah Hiscott was strong in the goal for the Mustangs against the Patriots.